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The Billion-Dollar Technology That May or May Not Prevent the Next Big Train Crash

July 31, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Emerging reports on the two recent train crashes in Europe suggest, ever so sadly, that they could have been avoided. In Spain, the engineer appears to have been talking on the phone and looking at documents while speeding. In Switzerland, one driver seems to have failed to stop at a ...

Why Mega-Projects Always End Up Costing More Than Expected

July 30, 2013 Last week the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Transbay Transit Center, a massive transportation hub calling itself the "Grand Central Station of the West," will cost at least $300 million more than project officials estimated. One city official characterized the situation as unfortunate but said it wouldn't have a ...

When Urban Security Cameras Actually Save Lives

July 12, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow More and more cities are turning to surveillance cameras as a cost-effective tool for public safety, sometimes with the specific goal of fighting terrorism, but they're still pretty far from universally accepted. Many people object to cameras on the grounds of public safety; others simply don't believe they actually prevent ...

The Case for Making Bike-Share Membership an Employee Benefit

June 14, 2013 New York-based tech company Percolate, a small marketing firm that helps businesses create content pegged to social media, takes pride in promoting an active employee lifestyle. The company sponsors a variety of health and fitness clubs started by workers — running, bike riding, yoga, and cooking, to name a few. ...

This Month's Other Crucial Privacy Debate: The Rocky Future of Arrestee DNA Collection

June 12, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Last week, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that Maryland has the right to collect DNA evidence from people arrested for — though not yet convicted of — a serious crime. The ruling is poised to have broad legal implications, since 28 states have a similar law that permits DNA collection ...

Why We Shouldn't Rely on Smart Growth Incentives to Fix Sprawl

June 3, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Maryland has been out in front of the push toward smart growth for years. Beginning in the early 1990s, and continuing up through the recently approved PlanMaryland, the state has developed a series of thoughtful incentives designed to reduce sprawl and increase density. The approach favors collaboration over regulation between ...

What's Your City Watching on YouTube?

May 10, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow As if watching YouTube weren't enough of a distraction, you can now track exactly what everyone else is watching on YouTube. Earlier this week the video site launched the YouTube Trends Maps — a geographic display of who's watching what in cities across the United States. The Trends Map displays ...

Surveillance Tech Fills a Void for Cash-Strapped Cities

May 8, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The marathon bombings in Boston have cities across the country asking how they can prevent similar tragedies. For NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, when it comes to preparing for an attack in New York, "the new normal is the old normal." Kelly established a massive anti-terrorism unit after 9/11, and he ...

The Future of Public Roads Is in Private Hands

May 6, 2013 A few weeks ago, the Colorado Department of Transportation reached a 50-year deal with a private investment group to handle the improvement, maintenance, and operation of US 36 between Denver and Boulder. On paper, everyone seems to have made out well. The state gets money up front, the investors get ...

Do Long Commutes Discourage Married Women From Working?

April 24, 2013 It's easy to reduce commuting to a simple measure of getting to and from work, but its residual impact on our personal lives is becoming clearer every day. Commuting causes us stress and general displeasure, which no doubt sours many a mood and stirs up many a marital argument, though ...